Over the last few years, actress Sydney Viengluang has quickly become “one to watch” in the entertainment industry, bringing dynamic, diverse, and powerful female characters to life on screen. This year, Viengluang will continue to star on SYFY’s hit, zombie apocalyptic series “Z Nation,” which debuted its fifth season in October 2018. Viengluang joined the cast during season three and instantly became a fan favorite as Dr. Sun Mei, a biological researcher in search of the zombie virus to save humanity. Aside from her work on “Z Nation,” Viengluang has worked on a handful of high profile television projects, including appearing on “Jane the Virgin,” “Scorpion,” and “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.” Viengluang also executive produced and starred in the award-winning short film, “The Letter,” which won the Flicks4Chicks 2016 Short Film Contest Grand Prize for Diversity and Best Drama Award.
Born in Vientiane, Laos in Southeast Asia, Viengluang spent the first two years of her life in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines after her family escaped from insurgency and military conflict throughout the country. Once her family was sponsored, they landed in Wichita, Kansas where she was raised and went to high school and college. Upon graduating college, Viengluang moved to Los Angeles to start a career in accounting and finance at a movie studio. After sitting behind a desk for a year and learning more about the entertainment industry, she wanted to try her hand at acting, and started to take classes. As soon as she started auditioning, Viengluang started to book jobs leading up to her current role on “Z Nation.”
When not on set, Viengluang is involved with the advocacy group Laos Angeles, a community and movement that seeks to advocate and advance Lao identity and representation in mainstream media. She is also extremely passionate about diversity and Asian American representation, helping immigrants and refugees, and the LGBTQIA+ community. She also has a passion for the great outdoors and loves to spend time “off the grid” camping, adventuring, and taking in the nature around her.
Vĩ Sơn Trinh is a documentarian and a nursing student based in Portland, OR. He spends his downtime over coffee, a good book, or chasing stray cats on the streets. You can see more of his work at http://www.visontrinh.com and follow him on Instagram @visontrinh.
Latana is a Lao American womxn born and raised in Des Moines, WA but currently residing in the Bay Area. Her work in the Lao community stems from her family’s involvement in organizing and community building. She is a founding member of the Kinnaly Lao Traditional Music & Dance Troupe, a non-profit organization that focuses on the preservation of Lao culture through performing arts. She is currently the Assistant Director of the Asian American Activities Center (A3C) at Stanford University and doing her best to finish her dissertation.
Thuc was born in Vietnam and grew up in North Carolina and Southern Maryland. She went to UNC-Chapel Hill and then left for London where she worked for Saatchi & Saatchi's Cause Connection. After living in Europe, Thuc moved to New York City and was raised by a pack of wild drag queens. Thuc then moved to Los Angeles and became a writers' assistant for television and went back to school to learn screenwriting. She started The Bitch Pack to advocate for better dialogue for women and since has focused on roles for People of Color, especially Women of Color.
Sokho is a Cambodian-American born in Portland, Oregon. He has been involved in a variety of roles with IRCO Asian Family Center since 2012 when he joined the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Institute. He began working for IRCO in 2013 as a policy analyst, researching refugee child welfare policies, and has since served as a community health worker, community organizer and coordinator in several community development programs. In addition to his work in community development, he is in his third year at Lewis and Clark Law School and is currently the law clerk for IRCO’s Immigration Legal Services. Sokho is president of the Cambodian American Community of Oregon (CACO). Most recently, Sokho was awarded 2018 IRCO Asian Family Center Employee of the Year. He holds a B.S. from Oregon State University.
Tracy Nanthavong is a Lao American nurse who works with oncology patients in the San Diego area, and is discovering her culture after growing up outside of the Lao community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She currently serves as Secretary on the Executive Board for the Lao Community Cultural Center of San Diego. You can find Tracy on Instagram @misslaonurse.
Vivien Ngô is a second generation Vietnamese American actor who is known for her role as Trinh Phan on Ava Duvernay's QUEEN SUGAR. The daughter of refugees, Vivien was raised in Orange County, CA — amidst the largest Vietnamese American community in the States. She attended the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program with initial aspirations to be a NY theater actor. There, she trained extensively in both classical and contemporary stage acting and eventually originated the role of Sthally/God in the world premiere of THE HIDDEN PEOPLE, Part 1 by Joe Waechter at the Guthrie Theater. She has also studied at and appeared on stages at the South Coast Repertory and Shakespeare’s Globe (in London, UK). Vivien ultimately returned to Southern California, hoping to join the ranks of Asian Americans and other women of color working to change media and mainstream entertainment in Hollywood. In addition to her appearances on television and stage, Vivien has worked on independent film projects that have played at Slamdance, SXSW, and Cannes. Her upcoming credits include a guest starring role in NCIS: New Orleans and an integral recurring role on an “Untitled Snapchat Project.” In her free time, she is developing her own narrative content and writing/recording her debut EP.
Tony Aidan Vo is a Drama Desk Nominated musician and actor originally from Boulder, CO. He has worked extensively in the NYC theater scene with companies including Atlantic Theater Company, New York Stage & Film, Naked Angels, Pan Asian Repertory Theater, The Bushwick Starr, New York Theater Workshop, The Lark, The Lincoln Center, Ensemble Studio Theater, and New Dramatists. Television credits include QUEEN SUGAR and ALTERNATINO.
Tony is a founding member and musician of the folk band/theater collective, The Lobbyists. Within the group, he is a songwriter, actor and multi-instrumentalist. The Lobbyists have performed at some of NYC’s hottest venues including Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, Mercury Lounge, Ars Nova, The Bitter End, and Rockwood Music Hall. Alongside his bandmates, The Lobbyists were nominated for a 2016 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Musical, SeaWife.
For more information about Tony: www.tonyaidanvo.com
Peter Trinh is a Vietnamese American actor in the Denver, Colorado area. He wrote the one-man play Boat Person detailing his parents’ refugee story in the 1980’s. He is also a budding stand-up comedian. You can follow him on Twitter @Peter_Trinh.
Tony Nguyen made his directorial debut with Enforcing the Silence (2011), which the Los Angeles Times called “an uplifting portrait” of slain journalist Lam Duong, the first Vietnamese to be assassinated in America. His personal film, Giap’s Last Day at the Ironing Board Factory, winner of the 2015 CAAMFest Loni Ding Award for social issue documentary, streamed and broadcast nationally on PBS. His short film, Fresh Frozen, premiered at the California Film Institute's inaugural DocLands Documentary Film Festival in 2017. Tony lives in Oakland, California.
Son of Kim and Leth Hong, and brother to Jenny, Ty, and Sarah
Senior Consultant at Deloitte & Touche
President of Spam FC Scholarship Foundation
A lover of people, culture, and soccer
If you can, help support the amazing work that Spam FC is doing for students in Hennepin County, Minnesota by making a donation:
Jessi is a queer Hmong American artist creating Southeast Asian representation through animation. She has served as a co-leader for MassArt's Artists of Color Union, creating a safe space for artists of color to educate each other, connect, and collaborate on projects. Over the years she has progressed from rejecting her Hmong heritage, to treasuring it. Her favorite aspects about creating art are bringing characters and places to life, as well as leading her audience on an emotional journey.
*Note: Although it has been used more positively in recent times, the word "queer" originated as a slur, so only those who are a part of the LGBT community should reclaim it, and some people in the LGBT community do not reclaim it. Jessi uses the term for herself and would like it to be included in her description.
Vanessa S. Na (Vanessa Teck) is a PhD student in Higher Education and a Research Associate for the National Institute for Transformation and Equity (NITE) at Indiana University. A daughter of Cambodian refugees, she has always felt a deep commitment to addressing issues of access, equity, and inclusion through actionable storytelling and narrative. As a scholar-activist, her work centers students of color; Asian American and Pacific Islander students; Southeast Asian American students; intergenerational resilience; and the role of student activism in transforming higher education. A community organizer at heart, Vanessa is invested in cultivating liberating and inclusive campus environments for historically marginalized communities. She has spoken at institutions across the country about student activism and radical love, and been featured on prominent Asian American media outlets, such as Angry Asian Man, Reappropriate, and NBC Asian America. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Project Ava, the Education and Advocacy Co-Chair for the Asian Pacific American Network (APAN) of ACPA, and the Special Projects Co-Chair for the Asian Pacific Islander Knowledge Community (APIKC) of NASPA. She spends her free time learning how to be a good puppy mom to Taro and consuming shows on Netflix.
Christina is a Vietnamese American residing in Hillsboro, Oregon. Her parents are Vietnamese immigrants and their experiences inspire her to fight for social justice. Christina is a resistance fighter at the ACLU of Oregon where she supports fundraising efforts and data management. Believing that food is a bridge that connects different generations and cultures, Christina is often found enjoying new restaurants or trying new new recipes in the kitchen.
When Bay Area native Jamie Balaoro graduated from SF State, equipped with a degree and experience in multimedia journalism, she was met with breaking news that many major publications across the nation laid off their staff photographers. Frustrated by the continuing belittling of her craft, Balaoro was determined to give visual storytelling the respect it deserved. With the grand vision of creating a platform dedicated solely to visual storytelling, coupled by the belief in its power and value, Balaoro founded The Golden Bullet Magazine. The name is inspired by "Balaoro," which means Golden Bullet in Spanish.
The Golden Bullet Magazine is a visual-driven lifestyle online magazine and creative storytelling space for the creative types. We at TGBM stand by the evolution of journalism. Photos, videos, illustrations, digital graphics and other creative outlets have allowed storytellers to bring every-day stories to new heights. We aim to take stories to a creative level to strengthen the connection between virtual experiences and reality. Creativity thrives on endless possibilities and here at TGBM, this is what we strive to capture. Life is full of many things; food, music, art, travel, people, culture and everything else in between – The Golden Bullet Magazine aims to cover it all through stunning visuals. We’re shooting photo & video around the world, telling one story at a time.
Teresa Tran is a Vietnamese American writer and feminist who tweets a lot about books, writing, Star Wars, Kelly Marie Tran, and Southeast Asian diaspora topics. When not tweeting about her passions, she is studying at the University of Georgia and writing in her spare time with hopes of being published one day!
Nancy Monteiro (maiden name Mongkhonvilay) was born and raised in Kansas City, MO. She is the oldest of three children. She lived her whole life in the Midwest until she got accepted at Marymount University, where she graduated as a honor student with a B.A. in Psychology. She started her career working for a Fortune 500 company in consulting, and it paid for her Masters in Human Resource Management at University of Maryland University College (UMUC). She is currently a small business owner and a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful children who are half-Laotian and half-Portuguese. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, volunteering at her children's school, and doing charity work in the community.
Malina Tea Tran is based in Los Angeles, California. She is the daughter of Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees. After graduating from UCLA, she spent time in New York City where she gained experience in urban planning and web development. She loves cities, photography, and clean code. She is a software engineer. Catch her ramblings on twitter.com/malinatran or medium.com/@malina.
I am a daughter of Khmer refugees. I have inherited resilience, resistance, and resolve from my family. As a Khmer American emerging scholar, I am inspired to uplift the voices and stories of our Southeast Asian communities in academia. I aspire to use my positionality and platform to ensure that the stories of my family and community are never forgotten. Instead, our stories can empower change in our educational systems for the pursuit of a just and equitable society. We are here to stay and we have much to contribute.
I’m just your average college student living in beloved California. If I’m not outside with the trees or looking for food and fun, you can usually find me in my natural habitat: sleeping in bed with my laptop open from binge watching something--whether it be TV shows, anime, or Asian dramas. Occasionally, you’ll find me sticking my nose in a book, lost in another world. Other pastimes include listening to music and attempting to advance my amateur cooking :)
Follow @veganviets on Instagram to see delicious vegan recipes and hotspots! https://www.instagram.com/veganviets/
Shayne Nuesca is a Filipino-American who was raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She immigrated to the United States when she was six-years-old, and her experiences as an immigrant inspired her to become a journalist. She loves to travel, learn about other cultures, and meet new people. She is most passionate about documenting community and humanity as a whole. You can see some of her work at shaynenuesca.com. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter (@shaynenuesca).
Tori Huynh is the creator of Hai Bà Trưng, a Vietnamese legend reimagined as a modern revenge bike gang drama. Inspired by the emotional intimacy and sleek cinematography of Wong Kar Wai and Barry Jenkins, her work combines her love of art house cinema and the Vietnamese American experience to discuss the heartbreak of diaspora.
Trung Nguyen is the Youth Coordinator for BPSOS, Boat People S.O.S., an organization that serves the needs of Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans. We sat down to interview Trung about his parents’ refugee experience, his childhood growing up as a Vietnamese-American, and his work at BPSOS. For more information about BPSOS, please check out their website: http://www.bpsos.org/
Rose Xiong (pronounced like “song”), known by her friends as Rosie, is an 18-year-old Hmong-American from Kansas. She plans to major in Public Relations while attending a local community college to save money. She loves to travel and learn about different cultures. Her passions include music, film, and getting to know people, and she is a strong believer and follower of Christ. We met Rosie by coming across her beautiful and poignant YouTube video, “I am Hmong.” You can see her videos and subscribe to her YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/wonderosie
Nancy Phu is 1.5 generation, someone who is born is one country and later immigrates to another country before or during his or her teenage years. Nancy herself was born in Vietnam, and immigrated to the United States when she was around 13 years old. Below is our interview with her in which she talks about her memories of Vietnam, and her experiences as a Vietnamese Boat Person and a new immigrant in America. She currently resides in California with her family.
***This interview was conducted in Cantonese, Vietnamese, and English, and was later transcribed into English by PYD.